Morning Report: September 5, 2006

Signs, symbols, and substance. Some analysts think it looks like an awful lotta boats for one little peacekeeping force. A couple of flag debates round out today's edition.

Debka: Lebanon's shores see largest naval armada since WWII. Debka reports that the stated purpose of supporting UNIFIL in Lebanon is a smokescreen for "the greatest sea and air armada Europe has ever assembled at any point on earth since World War II" in the eastern Mediterranean.
The extraordinary buildup of European naval and military strength in and around Lebanon’s shores is way out of proportion for the task the European contingents of expanded UNIFIL have undertaken: to create a buffer between Israel and Hizballah.

Close investigation by DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources discloses that “Lebanese security” and peacemaking is not the object of the exercise. It is linked to the general anticipation of a military clash between the United States and Israel, on one side, and Iran and possibly Syria on the other, some time from now until November.

This expectation has brought together the greatest sea and air armada Europe has ever assembled at any point on earth since World War II: two carriers with 75 fighter-bombers, spy planes and helicopters on their decks; 15 warships of various types – 7 French, 5 Italian, 2-3 Green, 3-5 German, and five American; thousands of Marines – French, Italian and German, as well as 1,800 US Marines.

It is improbably billed as support for a mere 7,000 European soldiers who are deployed in Lebanon to prevent the dwindling Israeli force of 4-5,000 soldiers and some 15-16,000 Hizballah militiamen from coming to blows as well as for humanitarian odd jobs.

Full article at the link. (Debka)

Flags: Gateway Pundit on Kurdish flag in Iraq. Gateway Pundit: 'You may have read about how the Kurdish zone of Iraq announced last week they would start raising the Kurdish Flag instead of the Iraqi Flag on government buildings in the region. The media may not have told you why the Kurds decided to take this action. ...' Read the rest at the link. (Gateway Pundit)

More flags: Slate's Prudence gets it. Via Gay Patriot and The Corner, Dear Prudence at Slate responds to a reader who was offended by a worker wearing an American flag:
Dear Uneasy,
When did an American flag come to mean, "I want to assault gay people"? You know nothing about this man's views except that he feels patriotic. Since you are the one who provoked the discussion, do you really want to require that the person building your breakfast nook pass your political litmus test? (And yes, if I were to get a letter saying, "I went to a potential construction job this morning and the owners of the condo were obviously gay. I think homosexuality is abnormal and I hate the idea of gay marriage. I don't know whether I should go ahead and submit a bid," I would find that letter just as objectionable.) We are lucky to live in a society in which one doesn't have to belong to a government-sanctioned party or avow a list of beliefs in order to make a living. ...

Go to the link for the whole thing. (Slate)

Commentary. I can relate to that last item. Recently I posted on my personal journal that I was investigating some job prospects, and a screen pal asked me whether my association with the queer community would hurt my chances. I told her that that had never been a problem, but that I had encountered other forms of discrimination.

What actually happened was that I was flatly turned down for a job because of my politics a few weeks ago. In the middle of a seemingly promising interview, the employer asked, out of the blue, "What do you think of the Bush Administration?" He explained that they would only hire someone who was anti-Bush, because, he said, "it's a small office." I told him I didn't want the job and walked out.